Jesus Wept

If you have been a Christian for any amount of time, you are told that all things work for good and God’s glory. The suffering that comes into your life will make you a better person. Just give it to God, you’re told.

Then you find yourself hit by life. The pain is far beyond what you thought it would be: it goes right to the core of your heart. And suddenly those platitudes you have heard uttered by Christians give no comfort whatsoever. You see no good in what you are going through. And you see God as a stoic being, moving around the pieces of life like a chessboard. You are only a piece to be moved around so God receives the glory.

I felt like this a couple weeks ago. I knew all things work together for good. I knew that my life is not my own, but for God to use for His glory. But I felt like God didn’t feel for me. That God was up above, moving around my life with a look of disinterest. I was only a means to an end. And my suffering meant very little in the grand scheme of things.

Then I read began reading the book of John. And God showed me a picture of himself. Yes, He is orchestrating all of our lives for good and yes, He does all of this for His glory (for when God receives glory, we bask in the warmth). But He is not looking down on us with a stoic expression. He is moved by our hurt.

Sometimes He weeps.

As a child, it was a contest to see who knew the shortest verse in the Bible. And in case you don’t know, it is “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35). But I never understood the full power of that verse until a couple weeks ago. As I read John 11, I felt moved by the story of Martha and Mary and their brother Lazerus.

Lazerus is deathly sick. So his sisters send word to Jesus. They know Jesus can heal their brother. They have seen His power and miracles. But Jesus never comes. And so Lazerus dies. Can you feel their shock, their feelings of betrayal? Why did Jesus heal so many others, but he never came to help them, His friends? They bury Lazerus, probably along with their hope.

Now let’s look at Jesus’ point of view. Jesus receives word that Lazerus is deathly ill. But He has a plan: a plan for good and God’s glory. So Jesus waits. And waits. Until Lazerus dies. Then he tells his disciples they must head back to Judea so he can awaken Lazerus.

However, you do not see an unemotional Jesus in this chapter. Look how He responds when he sees Mary and the others who are grieving with her: “When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled.” (John 11:33). The grieving he saw moved Jesus.

They head out to the tomb. And at this point Jesus weeps. He sees the grief and hurt of the people around him. My friends, God sees the hurt and grief of us too. He is not callous to our battered hearts and lives. Even while God is using us for good and for His glory, I believe He is also weeping with us. We have a God who has also suffered. “Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.” (Hebrews 2:18).

Jesus wept. What a powerful verse. Those two simple words opened my eyes. I no longer see God as a stoic being above me, moving around the pieces of my life with a calloused hand. Instead I see a God who weeps with me.

*On that note, I want to ask for prayer for a young family I know who is facing a very dark period in their lives. The father has been diagnosed with a strange kind of cancer. I have known this family for years and they have been a rich blessing to both Dan and me. They have two young children (about the age of my own). I know God can heal him. But I also know God might have other plans. I ask anyone reading this to pray for strength as they face the next couple weeks, months, even years. I pray that their hearts will find peace and love during this turbulent time. And I pray that they will know that they are loved and prayed for by many. Amen.

4 thoughts on “Jesus Wept”

  1. Thanks for this post. I remember an old song from the Jesus Freak days: And Jesus said, “Come to the water, stand by my side. I know you are thirsty, you won’t be denied. I felt every tear drop, when in sorrow you cried, and I strove to remind you, that for those tears I died.” Or something like that.

    Better yet, Psalm 56:8
    You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?

    God has a tear bottle?

    I was in the middle of several years of trial (financial and health problems) when, one day my daughter slammed my hand in the car door. My knees buckled, it hurt so much, and I was so tired from all the trials, that this was a last straw for me. I sat down in the parking lot and cried. And it hit me that I’d been missing something about God. I’d been thinking for the longest time that God was giving me my trials for my own good and for his glory, because I believed that the trials were working perseverance and perseverance must finish its work for me to be mature and complete, not lacking anything. But as I cried in that parking lot, I realized that not only were the trials given by God for my good, they were also offensive to God. He hated my trials. He didn’t make me for suffering. He made me to live forever in happy communion with him. And he hated my trials as much as I hated letting doctors give my babies shots or as much as I hated spanking my children when they needed it.

    I realized that God was weeping with me and he was protecting me and he was going to, one day, destroy this sinful world and wipe every tear away.

    Tell your friends I’m praying for them and trusting that God is doing great things in and through and for them. And also believing that he is weeping with them.

  2. thank you Morgan for reminding me that God responds and is aware of our pain. He sent His Son-such pain that must have been for Him-to weep as we do, and to be our intercessor in prayer. I am praying for the family.

  3. Thank you Sally and MJ. I definitely look forward to the day when we will weep no more because God will wipe every tear away. But until then, we do not face life alone. We face it with our Father.

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